Social Sciences Book Reviews

RAMPAGE NATION by Louis Klarevas
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A deeply researched, clearly written study that educates while it horrifies."
Klarevas (Global Affairs/Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston) shares his research showing that mass shootings are more common than widely believed but can be decreased by addressing the conditions common to all the massacres. Read full book review >
NECESSARY TROUBLE by Sarah Jaffe
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An essential guide to forces shaping our nation and the 2016 presidential election."
Journalist and Nation Institute fellow Jaffe debuts with an in-depth account of the wave of populist anger driving "a new era of protest and activism" in the United States. Read full book review >

UPROOT by Jace Clayton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge, balanced between memoir, musicology, and technology."
Sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture for top-dollar DJs and African ensembles alike. Read full book review >
BORN BRIGHT by C. Nicole Mason
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown's half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible."
The aspirational story of a young African-American woman's rise from poverty. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration."
An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of "good parenting." Read full book review >

THE FIRE THIS TIME by Jesmyn Ward
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely contributions to an urgent national conversation."
Poets, scholars, and essayists reflect on race in America. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Timely, controversial, and bound to stir already heated discussion."
An impassioned analysis of headline-making cases of police shootings and other acts of "state violence" against blacks and other minorities. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 22, 2016

"An elucidating, nuanced study of gender and feminist dynamics perfect for our current political moment."
A timely study of gender and media that reaches back before the present American election to earlier delineations of white manhood and presidential power. Read full book review >
THE VOYEUR'S MOTEL by Gay Talese
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 12, 2016

"Undoubtedly creepy and unnerving but also an entirely compelling slice of seamy American life."
The disturbing private world of the sleaziest motel manager since Norman Bates. Read full book review >
LIFT by Daniel Kunitz
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: July 5, 2016

"An excellent contribution to the literature of athletic performance and of interest to anyone with a penchant for self-improvement—and not just physical."
A wide-ranging history of fitness. Read full book review >
THE NORDIC THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Anu Partanen
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 28, 2016

"An earnest, well-written work worth heeding, especially in our current toxic political climate."
A Finnish journalist offers a surprising theory of why Americans are neither currently upwardly mobile nor free. Read full book review >
JACKSON, 1964 by Calvin Trillin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 28, 2016

"Haunting pieces that show how our window on the past is often a mirror."
A veteran reporter collects some significant pieces about race that originally appeared in the New Yorker, his publishing home since 1963. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >